Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking forward to 2017

I haven't blogged in quite a while, so I will make a New Year's resolution to record more of my thoughts for posterity in the aether of the Internet.  I try to keep up with climate change science, and it looks like this coming year has a good possibility of an ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer.  If not this year, it is only a matter of time, and then our weather will get weirder and weirder.  I intend to blog more on how to use permaculture to adapt to and cope with a changing climate.

One thing that permaculture requires is settling down, staying in one place long enough to get permanent crops established and prosper from those harvests.  My persimmon trees have been in the ground 6 years, and this is the first year that I have had a bountiful harvest, with enough for my own use and a surplus.  Climate change, on the other hand, sends populations off on a search for a new place to settle down -- people leaving areas of desertification and sea-level rise looking for a new place to call home.  How will these people settle down, plant some permanent crops, and reap their harvest?

Unfortunately, displaced people usually end up where work is, i.e., in big cities, and they are not in a position to start a permaculture venture that may take 5-10 years to pay off for them.  If you follow the news on the large number of Syrian refugees, they are not finding new farms to run along permaculture principles.  And that is a change that permaculture and its proponents have to make -- be able to bring in more people.  Change permaculture from a family enterprise to a community one.

I can see many advantages to organized community permaculture.  I have more tasks on my list of things to do than I have time to do them.  That makes me one of the fortunate, one who always has a surplus of food.  I am in the position of being able to support climate change refugees, should any come asking.  But this climate change disruption is not likely to proceed in an organized manner.  My capacity to take in refugees would be swamped by the off-loading of a large enough boat or bus.

True food security lies in matching the needs of people with the productivity of the land.  This is easier with large numbers of people, since temporary surpluses (a prolific persimmon tree) can be spread around and processed for long-term use.  I would like to encourage permaculturalists to think how they can enlarge their circle of consumers.  The way to make permaculture advance is to find people who are first consumers of permaculture production.  Once they know that they can eat in a more secure and sustainable way, they will come around to actively participating in permaculture labors.